Stuttgart, AR — Three workers suffered "very minor" injuries Thursday night in an explosion at the Riceland Foods Inc. facility that was blamed on grain dust, according to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report.
The explosion happened at a building used to store rough and milled rice at about 5:20 p.m., according to Riceland spokesman Kevin McGilton, who said the workers were treated and released at a local hospital.
The facility uses equipment to minimize and capture grain dust and clean the air, but McGilton said grain dust is an ever-present hazard of handling rough grains.
The facility sustained “significant” damage, McGilton said, though he wasn’t immediately sure what impact it would have on operations. The cause is under investigation.
Riceland Foods, Inc. is a farmer-owned agricultural marketing cooperative, a major soybean processor, and the world's largest miller and marketer of rice.
In May 2006, a Riceland employee was killed when a spark from a wire brush grinder ignited an explosion in the soybean hydrogenation area of the soy division storage building, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report. OSHA cited Riceland for an "other" violation and levied a $5,000 fine.
To read the full article on the grain dust explosion, click here.